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Crane cable...

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Hey folks,


I have come into possession of a couple lengths of crane cable and have some concerns about how to work with it. I've worked with cable before and it's not really a problem. But this stuff is crane cable. The core strands are twisted and wrapped in one direction, while the outer strands are twisted and wrapped in the opposite direction. Normally, when working with cable, the first thing I'd do after cleaning it is heat it up, flux and tighten the twist. But in this case, I'd be loosening one set of strands while tightening the other. In the interest of not wasting material, is there any advice anyone can offer me on how to effectively work this material and finish with reliable welds?


Thanks in advance,


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You will have to weld one end and then work the weld down the length to the other end. Don't be surprised if the outside ends up being longer than the inside coil. First one I did I tried to weld both ends first then work down to the center but ended up with a clump in the middle. It has what I thought was one of the best patterns for cable that I had ever done. Question ?? Is the strands all 1/16 or is the center 1/16 and the outer 1/8?? Good stuff whatever

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i usually take cable apart before working it and give it a good clean.

mainly to get rid of a lot of the grease and muck that is inside... but also to check for any of the little thing they seem to put inside.... like the little plastic I.D. tags that inform you of the maker of the cable or the intended strength of the cable etc etc ..


all of these things can end up causing issues in the weld, so i try to keep it to a minimum before i begin.


what you could do is give the centre core a tightening before you reassemble it..

but the stuff ive used in the past that had a opposite twist in the middle didnt really care too much that i twisted it all in one direction.

still came out the same in the end.

the centre core stuff of the cable i used was pretty close and tight and didnt really turn much when i twisted the superly fluxed outer core.

so i would personally just twist it and just watch the end a little to see how it is going and if it starts to seperate... then stop and hammer from then on.


once the single wires are mostly welded, you can still give it a twist without worrying about separating.

and provided you are forging to shape, you should still get a good pattern from that.


my 0.02c deposited.



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Twist the snot out of it a a full welding heat...it'll get solid. Do you know what sort of steel it is? I only ask this because I recently discovered that all my crane cable was very low carbon. If you aren't sure what you have you might want to do a small test HT before you put alot of time into a blade that won't get hard. (like I did)

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That's an excellent point, David. I'll make sure I do that. I don't recall what I was told when I acquired it all. What I forgot to mention in my original post is that I got this cable from the distributor. It's never been used, or even on a job site. It's a bit oily, but otherwise very clean. Since it's intended for cranes, what I got was the excess cutoff 'scrap' too short to use... something around 75 feet each. I was somewhat pleased to get it.


As for the content, Dee, looking at the cutoff ends, all I see is metal. No plastic or nylon. Does that mean I'm in the clear? Or are the tags you're talking about appear intermittently over the length?


The smaller cable (about 3/4-7/8" diameter) is composed entirely of 1/16" strands. The larger (1 1/4") is composed entirely of 1/8" strands. I also have 3' of 1 1/4" elevator cable that I'm really looking forward to using. It's got 1/8" strands in the outer ropes, and 1/16" strands in the core.


I seem to recall reading about cleaning cable sections by letting them soak in acetone to remove the oils and grease. Has anyone had any experience with this technique? (Yes, I realize I'm asking about cutting corners, but from what the dealer told me about the crane cable, if I let it unravel, I will never get it back together again.)

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the plastic in the cable i use is intermittently placed through the cable ... near the core.

its yellowish and looks a bit like ... umm ... gas pipe ribbon with little bits of writing on it.


you can get it back together ... you just end up with a bunch of wavy rods that you clean and then you just kinda twist them together and they click back in place ... it gets to be habit after a bit.


if you realllllllly dont .. then one thing i have done in the past was just get a pvc pipe, put a permanent cap on one end ... put the cable inside and fill with kerosene.

seal the other end with a tight fit and just slosh it around.

it will clean off the oils ... but no the plastic obviously.


just make sure to be careful when you put the cable into the forge ... as the kerosene will go woof if you arent careful.

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Larry Nowicki showed us a great solution for cleaning cable. He keeps a 5 gallon bucket of water with a box of borax disolved in it. Heat up the cable and swirl it around in the bucket. Clean and fluxed all in one motion. Really works great.

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